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Sunday, January 29, 2017

THE WEEK AHEAD: Your Guide To RVA Sports!

Two weeks are left in the high school basketball regular season, college hoops teams turn to the February portion of their calendar, and postseason tournaments continue Wednesday in winter high school sports! Here's a look at what we're watching in "The Week Ahead":


#5 Trinity Episcopal at #9 L.C. Bird, 7:15pm
Hanover at Varina, 7:30pm

#3 Varina at Hanover, 7:30pm (Live Tweet Coverage: @henricosports & @hanoversports)
#7 George Wythe at #9 Monacan, 7:15pm


VCU at Richmond, 7pm

St. John Paul The Great at #2 Trinity Episcopal, 6pm
Douglas Freeman at #6 Hermitage, 7:30pm
Thomas Dale at Petersburg, 7:15pm
Colonial Heights at Hopewell, 7:30pm

Conference 16 Tournament, Fork Union Military Academy
Conference 12 Tournament, Matoaca High School


Richmond at VCU, 7pm
Randolph-Macon at Hampden-Sydney, 7pm

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY: Full coverage across our Twitter network on @hanoversports, @henricosports, @cfieldsports and @TheRVASportsNet plus follow @MattNBC12 and @marcdavissports on Twitter for coverage from our friends at NBC12!

#4 John Marshall at #6 Hermitage, 7:30pm
Manchester at James River, 7:15pm

Deep Run at #3 J.R. Tucker, 6pm

Conference 12/16/20 Gymnastics Championship, 7pm, Varina HS

Conference 26 Championship, Arthur Ashe Center, 4pm


#4 Cosby at #1 Monacan, 7:15pm
Midlothian at #10 James River, 7:15pm

Conference 11 Championship, Arthur Ashe Center, 2pm


#2 Highland Springs at Varina, 7:30pm
#9 L.C. Bird at Prince George, 7:15pm

#5 Mills Godwin at Glen Allen, 7:30pm
#9 Monacan at Cosby, 7:15pm
Atlee at Patrick Henry, 7:30pm


Dayton at VCU, 1pm

George Washington at Richmond, 2:30pm
VCU at St. Bonaventure, 4pm

#1 L.C. Bird at #4 John Marshall, 7pm (Listen LIVE on RVA Sports Network HERE)

#8 Atlee at I.C. Norcom, 12pm
#2 Highland Springs at Osbourn Park, 3pm

Conference 3 Championship, 10am, Cosby HS
Conference 20 Championship, 9am, Hanover HS
Conference 12 Championship, 10am, Varina HS
Conference 11 Championship, 10am, Douglas Freeman HS

Conference 11 Championship, 8am, SwimRVA

Conference 11 Championship, 10:30am, Deep Run HS


Rhode Island at Richmond, 1pm

New Top 10 Girls, Boys Basketball Polls

Two weeks remain in the regular season, and while some teams are fighting for first round byes in conference tournaments, others are fighting for a first round home game, and even a conference tournament bid. With some upsets this past week, here's a look at our latest Top 10 Polls!


1) L.C. Bird (14-0, was #1)
2) Trinity Episcopal (21-1, was #2)
3) Varina (13-4, was #5)
4) John Marshall (12-4, was #3)
5) Mills Godwin (13-3, was #4)
6) Hermitage (13-3, was #6)
7) George Wythe (13-3, was #10)
8) St. Christopher's (13-6, was #9)
9) Monacan (11-4, was #7)
10) Henrico (12-5, was #8)


1) Monacan (18-0, was #1)
2) Highland Springs (14-0, was #2)
3) J.R. Tucker (16-0, was #3)
4) Cosby (15-2, was #6)
5) St. Catherine's (10-5, was #4)
6) Trinity Episcopal (10-5, was #5)
7) Hopewell (15-4, was #7)
8) Atlee (14-3, was #8)
9) L.C. Bird (12-4, was #10)
10) James River (8-6, was #9)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT PART II: From Suicide Attempt To Standing Up: The Austin Cannon Story

(NOTE: This is the second in a three-part series of special articles from The Herald Progress newspaper and The RVA Sports Network on student-athletes and mental health issues. Former Atlee and current Virginia Tech offensive lineman Austin Cannon bravely opens up about his August, 2016 suicide attempt, how a concussion played a role, and how he has begun a movement on campus in Blacksburg to help end the stigma behind mental illness for young adults from all walks of life. Photos courtesy of Brooke Leonard and Hokie Sports.)

"I remember opening the drawer of the desk. There were two knives. I grabbed the serrated one, and I started cutting my leg with it at first, and obviously that hurt, and I'm sitting there just bawling, just crying. And then I grabbed it and it went right in my leg."

It is the night of August 9, 2016. Virginia Tech freshman football player Austin Cannon is alone in his suite, his roommate away. Heavy on his heart and mind were multiple issues, most notably grief and fear. But his decision that night to attempt to end his young life was also influenced by an event which occurred earlier in the day, a physical condition currently highlighted and monitored in sports, especially in football, like never before: a concussion.


Cannon was part of what will be remembered as one of the best offensive line units in area high school football history at Atlee High School earlier this decade. Teammates Alec Eberle and Nick Clarke are now college standouts at Florida State and Old Dominion respectively. Cannon wished to be a Hokie. To do so meant, first, a semester at Fork Union Military Academy for post-graduate study, where he earned a letter playing center.

Arriving in Blacksburg one year ago this month, Cannon had to play catch up, as his teammates had just completed an emotional 2015 season, the last for legendary head coach Frank Beamer. Members of the offensive line took Cannon under their wing, helping him become part of a new brotherhood, all experiencing major change as Justin Fuente became their new coach.

A semester and spring practice came and went, and Cannon was preparing for the 2016 season. Late in July on a visit home, Cannon's father, Mike, sat his son down, and broke the news to him of his cancer diagnosis. The news rocked Cannon's world.

"That was a huge blow. He's my best friend, he's the guy I can go to if I have a problem with anything," Cannon stated. "I didn't know how serious it was, whether it had spread. It was hard to sleep for a couple of days."

Today, Austin's father is 85 percent cancer-free and doing well. But in August, with a mind filled with earlier loss, new fear, and plenty of negative memories of being bullied for various reasons in high school, Cannon returned to Blacksburg. Then came August 9th, and a practice that set off a series of events that changed Austin Cannon's life forever. 


"We were in full pads outside. I was pulling on a play and I cut a linebacker," Cannon remembered. "As I was trying to get off the ground, my tight end, coming around, following the ball, and he soccer kicked me full speed right in the head. I finished the drive, and after practice went to the trainers and I'm completely out of it."

Immediately put into concussion protocol, Cannon was in the locker room sitting with teammate D.J. Reid.

"I remember saying, 'D.J., that's some cool music playing, what is that song?' And D.J. said 'there's no music playing'," Cannon said. "I knew right then and there I was messed up."

Cannon was excused from post-practice meetings, got his to-go meal, and went back to his room, setting the stage for a decision, the result of psychological pain, grief, and fear, and now, added physical pain.


A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal last year indicated a three-fold increase in long-term suicide risk among adults who suffer one concussion, the risk even higher if the injury occurs during recreational activities like driving a car or falling at home.

Austin Cannon was in full gear, helmet included, at that August 9th practice. Hours later, he was alone, confused, and released a major cry for help. Weak from practice, and now weaker from blood loss, he made another decision that saved his life.

"I ended up crawling to my phone and I just held it, like I couldn't do anything with it," Cannon recalled. "Then I saw some missed calls from trainers and I called back. I got one and told them I've just stabbed myself in the leg and I'm bleeding really bad, I need someone to come get me."

Word quickly reached Fuente, who, moments later, called Cannon, and talked to him as trainers, and emergency medical staff rushed to his room.

"He said, Austin Cannon, put the knife down, breathe, talk to me, and put the knife down. He was my head coach, so I did it, I put it down," Cannon said.

The next hour was filled with images for Cannon. EMT's, football trainers, Fuente and other football team staff members all around him as he was taken to the hospital. Once his leg was taken care of, the next stop was New Horizons Crisis Stabilization in nearby Radford, where he began a week of treatment to get to the sources of his suicide attempt. 

Cannon credits the New Horizons staff, and the Virginia Tech football staff, for not only saving his life nearly six months ago, but helping him begin bouncing back from rock bottom. Fuente told Cannon to go home to visit family before returning to the team. As he's cutting grass, his mind begins to work.

"I thought, what could I do to make such a negative thing that happened to me be a positive thing? A lot of people who go through what I did, they won't speak about their problems, they'll bottle it up, and that's what I did," Cannon said.


Cannon isn't quiet about his experience anymore. Proudly walking on campus with a t-shirt promoting his Twitter account dedicated to helping students in mental health crisis, a 6' 2", 300-pound offensive lineman is shouting his testimony to everyone who walks by.

It isn't a new initiative for Cannon, recalling a day at Atlee where he saw a student alone at a table at lunch and making the decision to go sit with him and befriend him. 

"He knew exactly who I was, and because of my size, he thought I was going to do something to him," Cannon recalled. "But as I talked, he started opening up, and after that, he'd be like, 'Hey Austin, how's it going?' in the hallways. Making an impact in people's lives, that's what I want to do."

Cannon, who rejoined the team, which finished 10-3 with an ACC Championship Game appearance and an historic comeback win over Arkansas in the Belk Bowl last month, runs the Twitter account "@SU_movement", which he hopes will grow beyond the Virginia Tech campus one day, meant to offer hope to anyone, not just student-athletes, who are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.

"That's what I'm here for, I'll be an outlet for somebody," Cannon notes. "I think mental illness issues should be taught at all levels, especially in middle and high school. The transition from high school to college, I think, is where it can hit its peak, with kids that are bullied, who feel they aren't accepted."

The other lesson coming from Austin Cannon's journey is how much more vigilant athletic programs, from youth to professional, need to be in the immediate aftermath of a concussion. Its mental affects, depending upon the situation, may not take years, but merely hours.

(Next Week: Out of incredible tragedy comes daily triumph, even in the midst of struggle, as the hopes of a young lady gone way too soon become a movement to end the stigma of mental illness in teenagers and young adults in the Richmond area.)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

New RVA Sports Network Top 10 Basketball Polls

L.C. Bird solidifies its season-long place atop The RVA Sports Network Top 10 Boys Basketball Poll, but there are changes in the second five, while J.R. Tucker makes its move in our latest Girls Poll.


1) L.C. Bird (was #1)
2) Trinity Episcopal (was #2)
3) John Marshall (was #3)
4) Mills Godwin (was #4)
5) Varina (was #5)
6) Hermitage (was #9)
7) Monacan (was #6)
8) Henrico (was #7)
9) St. Christopher's (was #8)
10) George Wythe (NEW)

Dropping Out: Highland Springs


1) Monacan (was #1)
2) Highland Springs (was #2)
3) J.R. Tucker (was #5)
4) St. Catherine's (was #3)
5) Trinity Episcopal (was #4)
6) Cosby (was #6)
7) Hopewell (was #7)
8) Atlee (was #8)
9) James River (returning)
10) L.C. Bird (was #9)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

LISTEN LIVE PLAYER: #2 Trinity Episcopal at #1 L.C. Bird

Click on the YouTube player below to hear RVA Sports Network's live, exclusive online coverage of 18-0 #2 Trinity Episcopal and #1 12-0 L.C. Bird at the 2017 Bird Classic beginning at 7pm!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT PART I: Suber Talks About Her Biggest Opponent

Writer's Note: This is the first part of a special three-part series of articles on today's student-athletes and mental health challenges, a production of The Hanover Herald-Progress newspaper and The RVA Sports Network.

In Part One, former Atlee and University of Virginia volleyball standout Karlie Suber opens up about her battle with depression, how her mindset has changed about the disease over the past two and a half years, and how she has been helped to this point in her journey. Suber, second from right, is shown below in Memorial Gymnasium at The University of Virginia with, from left to right, Cavaliers head coach Dennis Hohenshelt, her mother Ratchada and, to her left, her father Anthony. Photo by Matt Riley.

The article is also available on the Herald-Progress website at this link.


For every student-athlete at every level of competition, their public performances only show a fraction of the time dedicated to their endeavor.

No one fills the bleachers when the swimmer begins their laps at 5am, hours before their classmates begin to hit the snooze button on a school day. Feet of tape used on one's body in the training room can accumulate over time into miles. Physical injuries, from simple wear and tear, to broken bones, take their toll.

Top high school players begin to experience very high levels of expectation, some as early as middle school, when word of their athletic prowess becomes public, and universities begin to talk scholarships. Practices grow in purpose, games grow exponentially in meaning. A big game in front of the right person could mean a six-figure scholarship, a "free" college education.

All the while, from the first signs of gifted play, to one's Senior Day in college, there's an issue that could be not only present, but prevalent, in the life of a student-athlete that no fan can see, that coaches may not detect. 

What is prevalent in the mind, the heart, and the soul of a teenager, a young adult, who spends, in some cases, over half of their young lives trying to turn success in athletics into success for their future?

Last week, for Jordan Hankins, a sophomore on the Northwestern University women's basketball team, the battle became too much. Hankins was found dead in her dorm room January 9th, the result, according to a medical examiner's finding, of suicide by hanging. 

A top player at her high school in Indianapolis, Hankins left an indelible impression on her coaches and teammates in just three semesters as a Wildcat, who all now must grieve and grapple with why this tragedy happened. 

Hankins seemingly had it all, an assumption we all too quickly place on any successful, on the surface, student-athlete. But as one former standout Atlee volleyball player once said, "You don't have to be happy all the time to live a happy life."


Karlie Suber had it all. Her sister, Narissa, became just the second 1,000 point scorer in Atlee basketball history in 2004. The baby of the family, Karlie played several sports, but found her athletic calling on the volleyball court. 

Suber and the Raiders made the state tournament three consecutive seasons, reaching the Group AAA Championship Final her senior season in 2012. She accepted an offer to play for the University of Virginia, an Atlantic Coast Conference institution known worldwide for its quality of education.

By her sophomore year, she was in the starting lineup, and, by her own admission, doing well academically, but something was not right. Not sleeping then turned into a loss of appetite. Suber went to a psychologist, and didn't like the first results.

"I could immediately tell that he was searching for something deeper, which I wasn't really open to," Suber told the Herald Progress. "Obviously, there's a stigma behind (depression)."

On a blog post released last summer announcing her decision to end her volleyball career at Virginia with a year of eligibility remaining, Suber noted, "It's an inexplicable feeling to someone who's never experienced it before, but imagine that you're sad and you can't find a reason for it and you can't find a way to fix it."

For Suber to write the blog was, in itself, a large step forward for a woman who can be soft-spoken and private, but it served several purposes, from explanation to catharsis.

"When people found out I wasn't playing anymore, they would look at me and be like, what happened?," Suber recalled. "I was always in the gym, whether volleyball or basketball. I would just go up to RVC (Richmond Volleyball Club) and just practice with whatever team was practicing at the time. So I wanted people to know that it (retiring) wasn't because I didn't love the sport. I just physically and mentally couldn't take it, and it wasn't healthy for me."


October 1, 2014 is an important date in Karlie's journey. In the heart of her sophomore volleyball season, she was diagnosed with depression. 

"Initially, it was really hard for me to accept it. I was in denial about depression at first," Suber noted. "But once I kept talking with the psychologist, I realized that it was beyond the realm of what I could do to help myself, and it clicked. I switched gears to see if there was something else that someone else could do to help me."

She was also dealing with plantar fasciitis, which causes pain in or under the heel, a condition that began her freshman year. Once the 2014 season concluded, Suber reached out.

"My coach was pretty good about it, telling me after my second year that if I needed to take the time to figure things out, I could do that," Suber noted. "He made it very clear he wasn't pushing me not to play, but if that was my decision he would still want me to be around. So, the only decision I had to make was was it going to make me happy and was I going to be in pain doing it."

Suber also worked through what she noted as "identity issues". Who is Karlie, if not a volleyball player? By talking with a sports psychologist at Virginia, and opening up to her parents and to some friends, she realized she had all the support she needed, but she simply didn't know if she could give up a sport she had played for twelve of her then-twenty years on earth.

People who deal with any type of mental health issue not only fight that battle daily, but have to be ready for a myriad of issues which surface once they seek assistance. Will I have to take medication? What side effects are possible? Will my family and friends "label" me, or treat me differently? 

In Suber's case, a mountain to climb was how to handle not playing volleyball. What does she do with her free time? Can she successfully be around the team, around the sport, while not participating? She even worried about getting in her daily exercise. Could leaving volleyball cause new emotional issues? 

Suber watched her older sisters play competitive basketball and softball, first picking up a basketball herself at age four. Nights were filled with watching their practices, or going to her own. Athletics were so ingrained in her being, her existence, how does one turn the page?

For Suber, it was a combination of learning new routines, concentrating on studies, spending time helping her team, and realizing more about depression itself.

"Learning more about the disease helped me understand what I was going through," Suber explained. "I'm one of those people that likes to know everything about something. I like to know where everything comes from. My sports psychology class helped me understand what I was going through, that I wasn't the only one, and that it's not uncommon anymore."


Suber graduated from the University of Virginia last month, three and a half years after graduating from Atlee. She has also graduated to a new level of knowledge about depression, mental health, and her life today. Suber now wants to take the journey that brought her here, and help others know that, if they are depressed, there's hope, and there's help. 

As her life's journey begins a new phase, the words Karlie Suber wrote last summer seem most appropriate.

"Though this disease sucks, it has made me much more appreciative of the things my parents and sisters do to try and help me be happy," Suber wrote. "It makes me notice the little things that my friends do to help. It's okay to be sad sometimes, or angry, or scared, but as long as you don't let those emotions take over your entire life, you can find a way to be happy. Trust me, it's possible."


(Next Week: As concussion issues are taken more seriously than ever in sports, their role in mental health must be examined further. A former county athletic standout recalls the night his life almost ended, and how he is turning that experience into a burgeoning movement for mental health awareness.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Virginia Preps Classic Schedule Released

As Session One of the 2017 Basketball Classic was wiped out back on January 7 due to the snowstorm, officials have been working on rescheduling, and Tuesday released the schedule for the usual two-day event, which has now been stretched to three.

See the Classic schedule below:

SATURDAY JANUARY 21: Green Run HS, Virginia Beach
2:30pm: Norview vs. Cox
4:00pm: Stone Bridge vs. Kecoughtan
5:40pm: Albemarle vs. Granby
7:20pm: Potomac vs. I.C. Norcom

Tickets: Reserved $8 adults, $3 Children 18 & under, available by emailing; General Admission $10 adults, $5 Children 18 & under at the door.

SATURDAY JANUARY 28: Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk
11:00am: Smithfield vs. Tallwood
12:40pm: Louisa vs. Kellam
2:20pm: Monacan vs. Western Branch
4:00pm: Varina vs. Oscar Smith
5:40pm: Wakefield vs. Cape Henry
7:20pm: Bethel vs. I.C. Norcom
9:00pm: John Marshall vs. Hampton

Tickets: Same as January 21st Event (see above)

MONDAY JANUARY 30: Green Run HS, Virginia Beach
6:00pm: L.C. Bird vs. Landstown
7:30pm: Phoebus vs. Green Run

Tickets: Reserved $6 adults, $3 Children 18 & under, available by emailing; General Admission $8 adults, $5 Children 18 & under at the door.

Monday, January 16, 2017

THE WEEK AHEAD: January 17--22

The holiday shortened week is certainly headlined by the highly anticipated showdown in area boys basketball between #1 L.C. Bird and #2 Trinity Episcopal Saturday night at L.C. Bird (Listen Live to the game on RVA Sports Network by clicking HERE), there are a lot of intriguing games and events on tap across the area, and not just at the high school level.

Here's some of the action that The RVA Sports Network will be closely monitoring this week:


Midlothian at #9 L.C. Bird, 7:15pm: The Trojans are looking for a signature win, while both teams are coming off losses at this past weekend's Classic.

Deep Run at Hermitage, 6pm: Two teams trying to recapture past success collide in a West End battle, trying to ensure they will make the Conference 11 Tournament next month.

Huguenot at #6 Monacan, 7:15pm: The Chiefs begin a stretch of eight games in fourteen days hosting a Conference 20 rival, trying to collect as many wins as possible. Remember, the top two seeds in Conference 20 earn byes to their tournament semifinals, meaning one win earns a 4A East Region bid, rather than two.

Hanover at #10 Highland Springs, 7:30pm: The Hawks always seem to scare tougher opponents, while the Springers try to get past their heartbreaking loss to rival Varina back on Friday.


#3 Virginia Union at Bowie State, 5:30pm: The 15-0 Panthers get perhaps their best test yet, as Bowie State is second in the CIAA behind Virginia Union at 6-1, 14-3 overall.

Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah, 7pm: The Yellow Jackets are tied with Guilford atop the ODAC at 6-0, and looks to win their tenth game in their last eleven two hours away northwest against the Hornets.

#8 Atlee at Glen Allen, 7:30pm: Alyse Armentrout of the Raiders continues to put up some of the most impressive numbers in the area. The Jaguars, lurking just outside out Top 10 Poll all season, looks for a big non-conference win. (LIVE Tweet Coverage: @henricosports & @hanoversports)

Benedictine, Collegiate Lee-Davis at Hanover, 6pm: Lee-Davis continues to gain momentum towards the postseason, and will get great tests in this VISAA/VHSL combined meet.


Richmond at Dayton, 7pm (ESPNU, 107.3 FM): The Spiders haven't started a conference season at 5-0 in nearly thirty years, back in their early days in the Colonial Athletic Association. Two-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of The Week De'Monte Buckingham (Henrico) looks to keep his, and his team's, hot streak going, but it will have to happen in one of the toughest places to play in the conference against the Flyers.

#9 L.C. Bird at James River, 7:15pm: The Rapids are looking to end a recent skid, and get a chance for a big victory as the Skyhawks come in, continuing a busy, and important, stretch of their schedule.

Chesterfield County Duals, 7pm, SwimRVA: After losing last week's events to the snowstorm, club teams return to action, three weeks away from their big season finale. (LIVE Tweet Coverage: @cfieldsports)


#7 Henrico at #5 Varina, 7:30pm: The Warriors look to avenge an early-season loss to the Blue Devils.

#9 Hermitage at Glen Allen, 7:30pm: A rematch of a classic double overtime thriller in the Jaguar Jamboree Championship almost a month ago won by the Panthers.

Henrico County Meet, 7pm, NOVA: As their first-ever appearances in VHSL Conference and Region Tournaments loom, teams from Henrico collide in familiar territory on Gayton Road.


Georgia Tech at #16 Virginia, 2pm: The Cavaliers' battle with the Yellow Jackets is the start of a tough mid-season stretch which includes trips next week to both Notre Dame and #1 Villanova, then hosting rival Virginia Tech February 1st.

VCU at Fordham, 2pm: The struggling Rams head to New York City to face the surprise team in the Atlantic 10 so far this season, conference leading Fordham.

#2 Trinity Episcopal at #1 L.C. Bird, 7pm (Listen Live on The RVA Sports Network): Someone will finally suffer their first loss of the season as the Titans come to Chester to battle the Skyhawks. Will the inside force of Trinity's Zach Jacobs and Armando Bacot take control, or will the guard-fueled gameplan of the Skyhawks, led by Mario Haskett and Pinky Wiley, stretch the game and negate the inside game? We can't wait to find out!

Conference 12 Duals, 10am, Prince George HS: All six conference teams get a chance to prepare for the all-important early February tournament two weeks away at this event.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New RVA Sports Network Top 10 Basketball Polls

There's very little change in our latest Top 10 Girls and Boys Basketball polls as a titanic #1 vs #2 showdown looms Saturday on the boys side, a game you can hear live on The RVA Sports Network at 7pm at this link:


1) L.C. Bird (was #1)
2) Trinity Episcopal (was #2)
3) John Marshall (was #3)
4) Mills Godwin (was #4)
5) Varina (was #5)
6) Monacan (was #6)
7) Henrico (was #7)
8) St. Christopher's (was #8)
9) Hermitage (was #10)
10) Highland Springs (was #9)


1) Monacan (was #1)
2) Highland Springs (was #2)
3) St. Catherine's (was #3)
4) Trinity Episcopal (was #4)
5) J.R. Tucker (was #5)
6) Cosby (was #7)
7) Hopewell (was #6)
8) Atlee (was #9)
9) L.C. Bird (was #8)
10) Prince George (NEW)

Dropping Out: James River (was #10)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

LISTEN LIVE: 2017 Girls Basketball Classic Doubleheader

Our "Year Of Women's Sports" coverage initiative rolls on Saturday with two huge girls basketball games as The RVA Sports Network broadcasts live for the fourth consecutive year at the Girls Basketball Classic at Highland Springs High School.

#1 Monacan vs. Forest Trail Academy (NC): Listen Live at 6:15pm on this player:


#2 Highland Springs vs. RJ Reynolds (NC): Listen Live at 9pm on this player:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Special Message From RVA Sports Network Founder Rob Witham

On Monday, the college sports world was stunned to hear the news that Northwestern women's basketball player Jordan Hankins had died at the age of nineteen. On Tuesday, the news became much more sad when it was announced Hankins had taken her own life.

Though I did not know Ms. Hankins, the news cut to my core, as Jordan was the exact same age as my daughter, the beautiful young lady you've seen at events with me and in many of our Twitter avatars over the years.

I have been on a personal journey since last summer, when a simple Facebook post stopped me in my tracks and began a vision whose first part will be realized beginning January 19th, when the Hanover Herald-Progress newspaper will team with The RVA Sports Network for a special three-part series of articles dealing with today's student-athletes, mental health, depression, suicide, and other issues.

We will introduce you to two student-athletes, once standouts on the court and on the field in high school in Hanover County, who found themselves in college grappling with psychological issues, and have been courageous enough to share their stories, their journeys, their darkest moments, and their hopes for today and tomorrow with us, to help, not just the student-athlete community in high school and college, but, they hope, and I as well, to every single student in every single high school, college and university, that, if you are dealing with mental health issues, the following is true:

1) You are NOT alone.
2) There are so many, many people ready at this very moment to help you.

We also will profile, in the final article of the series, an organization dedicated to reaching out and offering incredible services, and most importantly, hope, to Richmond-area teens struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide, and other mental health issues, in tribute to another area teen gone way too soon, but for a much different reason.

In the end, I will make sure that this will only be the beginning of The RVA Sports Network's outreach to partner with members of the mental health community, doing our part to provide help, and hope, to anyone in need.

You will find the word "hope" used multiple times in this statement, and that is on purpose. I, too, have dealt with various mental health issues since the age of twelve, when I became, as you see on my profile on all four of our websites, "one of seven million Americans with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)". My family has dealt with mental health challenges, and my son has triumphantly, but daily, dealt with issues as well. The hardest thing to experience as a parent of a living child is to watch them suffer, and not know how to help.

This new focus and outreach is deeply personal, and if we are able to help one person, it will be worth every effort. I, years ago, was very ashamed of my personal mental health issues. I am not ashamed anymore, and neither should anyone else be.

In a totally new age for teenagers and young adults, with never-ending communication via social media, the ability to communicate instantly around the world, we have seen many positives come from it. This network's very existence is, in part, thanks to it. But there are many negatives to this 'brave new world' that we live in, too. We are changing several things that we do in terms of how we cover events, and, more importantly, people, because the bottom line is, most of our coverage deals with people between the ages of 14 and 24, and we want to always make a positive impact with what we do.

I sincerely hope you will read each of the articles, which will publish in the January 19, January 26 and February 2 issues of The Herald Progress, and will also appear here at

This is only the beginning of our focus on this issue. When we watch any game, we can see if a player is out due to physical injury, whether it's a cast, a boot or a brace that is present. But we never know who may be playing with a heavy heart or a heavy, burdened mind. Let's work together to always be mindful of that.

Thank you, for the bottom of my heart, for supporting the RVA Sports Network, and for your time.


Rob Witham
Director Of Operations, Social Media/Broadcast
The RVA Sports Network

2017 Girls Basketball Primer

As 2017, The Year Of Women's Sports, continues, RVA Sports Network is proud to partner, for the fourth consecutive year, with the Girls Basketball Invitational to bring you the best in high school basketball action live!

This year we will present both #1 Monacan and #2 Highland Springs in action on Saturday night live on our YouTube Channel (see below for links to broadcasts!) plus bonus social media coverage of other games.

Courtesy of Tournament Director Michael Whittington, see a preview of each of the ten games below, including our coverage plans. We hope to see YOU at Highland Springs High School this weekend!


#8 L.C. Bird vs. Atlantic Shores, 5pm (Live Tweet Coverage: @cfieldsports)

--L.C. Bird enters StatVa an event veteran (fifth appearance), but young, with eight freshmen and sophomores on the roster. One of two returning seniors is team captain Madison Baum, who is injured and hasn't played this season. But head coach Chevette Waller's young Skyhawks are battle tested heading into Friday's game. L.C. Bird has appeared in the 5A State Championship game as recently as 2015. Head Coach Kevin Walton brings Atlantic Shores to StatVa for the first time. A 20-game winner a season ago, junior Tyla Happer (19 ppg) leads the Seahawks attack, joing by sophomore Chaniqwa Gilliam (11 ppg, 9 rpg, 10 apg), who is averaging nearly a triple-double. Four out of the top five scorers for Atlantic Shores are underclassmen. Keep an eye on 6'2" freshman post player Sarah Fitzgerald, who averages six points and ten rebounds per contest.

Huguenot vs. Western Branch, 6:30pm

--The Falcons finally make their StatVa Classic debut led by VCU signee Taya Robinson, a three-time All State performer in Group 3A. Huguenot, who play in the Dominion District along with L.C. Bird, Cosby, and Monacan, will be ready come postseason tournament time, led by head coach Bo Jones. Western Branch returns to the Classic featuring senior Jazmine Johnson, who averages 16 points and eleven rebounds per contest and was an All-Region performer last year. The Bruins rely on guard Cierra Cook (10 ppg, 4 asp) to form a formidable inside-outside punch. Western Branch spent Winter Break at a tournament in South Carolina.

#6 Hopewell vs. Deep Creek, 8pm

--The up and coming Hornets, led by head coach Kip Sutton, are led by a "play anyone" philosophy, participating in the Silver Division at the Boo Williams Christmas Tournament over Winter Break. Deep Creek is led by Tiara Williams, averaging in double figures. Williams was named All-Conference 17 a year ago in Class 4A. Hopewell comes off a Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament appearance before Christmas that included a win over three-time Group 6A state champion Cosby. Head Coach Jackie Edmonds' attack starts with Georgia Tech signee Daijah Jefferson and forward Tyah Hunter, who will play collegiately at Furman. Jefferson doesn't mind playing the post or the perimeter, making her a dual threat. Their guards are quick and ready to press when needed.


Midlothian vs. Landstown, 11:30am (Live Tweet Coverage: @cfieldsports)

Head Coach Adam Layton returns the Trojans to the Classic led by Radford signee Tina Lindenfeld, who leads Midlothian in all major categories including points (15.6), rebounds (5.3) and steals (3.0). A growing experience in complimentary players including Nia Lloyd and Elizabeth Vincent will help the Trojans come tournament time. Landstown, a Group 6A quarterfinalist last season, is led by a quartet of players: senior center Shanika Peterkin, junior point guard Alexa Roberson, and sophomores Alyssa Norris and Zoe Maynard, both who average ten points per game. The Eagles hang their hat on solid defensive play, holding every opponent except one this season to under forty points.

Osbourn Park vs. Broadway, 1pm

Head Coach Cliff Gorham brings the Lady Jackets to StatVa after a one-year absence for their third appearance in Classic history. Osbourn Park won their bracket at the Boo Williams Christmas Tournament by defeating defending 6A South Region champion Woodside in overtime in the finals. There's just one senior on the roster, but it's guard Nadia Davidson, an all-conference selection last season. Broadway, from Class 3A, lost by just one to 6A Colonial Forge in the Classic a year ago, not afraid to play up in classification. Leading scorers Faith Funkhouser and Kailey Landis lead the Gobblers' attack, while two-sport athlete Ally Repko, who will play softball at Elon University in the Colonial Athletic Association, is versatile on both ends of the floor.

#3 St. Catherine's vs. Lake Taylor, 2:30pm (Updates On Twitter: @TheRVASportsNet) 

The Titans enter with a successful recent history, winning state titles in 2010, 2013 and 2014. Head Coach Saundra Sawyer's squad uses an uptempo press attack to push the pace of the game. Junajah Somerville averages 14 points and eleven rebounds. She's joined by freshman Jordan Poole, also averaging a double-double at ten points and twelve rebounds per contest. The Saints of St. Catherine's only loss this year was to Highland Springs in the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament semifinals. Former VCU great Edmund Sherod coaches a team that is far deeper than standout Sydnei Archie, who has signed to play for Beth O'Boyle at VCU. This will be a tough test for St. Catherine's, but also a chance at a signature victory.

Woodrow Wilson vs. Battlefield, 4pm

The Presidents fell just short of a Group 4A State Finals appearance last year. Wilson relies on strength inside with the front line of Jonae Cox, Jaylyn Copeland and Lydia Goolsby. This is the Presidents' first StatVa appearance in four years. Battlefield returns after last appearing in the Classic in 2015. Two all-conference selections of a year ago lead the Bobcats: Marley McLaughlin and Ahila Moone. Dana and Danielle Harrington have added secondary scoring options for Battlefield, who spent Winter Break participating in the KSA Holiday Tournament.

#1 Monacan vs. Forest Trail Academy (NC), 5:30pm (LISTEN LIVE BY CLICKING HERE)
                                                  (Live Tweet Coverage: @cfieldsports )

As if unbeaten, two-time defending 4A State Champion Monacan hasn't had enough quality opponents, participating in two big out of town tournaments in December, and staying unbeaten in the process, here come the Knights from Kernersville, North Carolina. Forest Trail Academy has already played teams from nine different states. Senior sharpshooter Leah Church, signed with North Carolina, leads the way with help from sophomore point guard Kirsten Deans. Down low, the size is there with Ashlyn Hampton. Former Wake Forest great Delaney Rudd coaches the Knights. Monacan, as we all know, is much more than Megan Walker, but the talk does begin with the nation's number one recruit for the Class of 2017, who signed with Connecticut back in November. The Chiefs have been nationally ranked for most of the season. A loaded senior class includes Rider signee Jaiden Morris, who poured in 30 points in the first half of last year's 4A State Championship blowout victory, Alex Parson, who joins older sister Micaela at the University of Richmond next fall, and Jasmine Norman, who is headed to Division III power Christopher Newport. Monacan hasn't lost since falling to Highland Springs in the 2015 Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament Championship nearly thirteen months ago.

Woodbridge vs. William Fleming, 7pm

Tamika Dudley has assembled a very versatile lineup for the Vikings. Woodbridge, a favorite in Group 6A to finally end the reign of Cosby, is led by junior point guard Paris McBride, not to be confused with the Paris McBride that plays guard for Highland Springs. This Paris currently averages 15 points per game, and has the luxury of playmakers around her, from Hanna Oliver and Taelor Willard to freshmen Aaliyah Pitts and Vanessa Laumbach. Meanwhile, the Colonels, led by head coach Champ Hubbard, search the Commonwealth for the best competition for their schedule. The Colonels have seen their season end at the hands of Monacan two years straight, and would love a third shot at the Chiefs in March. Senior post player Tamani Manning is catching attention, and watch for guards Que King and Dasmine Kasey.

#2 Highland Springs vs. RJ Reynolds (NC), 8:30PM (LISTEN LIVE BY CLICKING HERE)
                                              (Live Tweet Coverage: @henricosports)

The nightcap features the host Springers, who are undefeated, and still searching for that elusive Group 5A State Championship. Cam Gatling (George Mason) leads the way down low, while sparking the attack out front are guards Jennifer Coleman (Naval Academy) and CeCe Crudup (UNC Greensboro). Az Bacot and Jalen Gathers are growing in their roles at a significant pace, which is only helping head coach Franklin Harris use his signature style of playing all 94 feet, and every inch from sideline to sideline. The Demons from Winston-Salem return to StatVa for the third straight year, led by the dynamic backcourt of Tierra Wilson, who averages 20 points per game, and Amari Cuthbertson, who is counted on for 16 per contest. Both have won Game MVP honors at the Classic in the past. RJ Reynolds won the prestigious Lowe's Classic in South Carolina over the holidays.

NOTE: Exclusive coverage of Monacan/Forest Trail Academy and Highland Springs/RJ Reynolds is Saturday night at 5:30 and 8:30 on The RVA Sports Network's YouTube Channel at the links provided above!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Here we go again. Here's the latest information on how missed Wednesday high school events will be rescheduled, or not.


East Coast Invitational at Ashe Center (Postponed: Officials trying to find new dates, will not be this week)
Dominion District Polar Bear Meet at Clover Hill (Rescheduled to January 18-19)
Colonial District Polar Bear Meet at Douglas Freeman (Canceled)


#1 L.C. Bird at Huguenot (Canceled)
Lee-Davis at #4 Mills Godwin (Rescheduled for Thursday, February 9)
Thomas Dale at #6 Monacan
#7 Henrico at Glen Allen (Rescheduled for Wednesday, February 8) 
Deep Run at Patrick Henry (Rescheduled for Wednesday, January 18)
James River at Manchester (Rescheduled for Thursday, February 9)
Clover Hill at Midlothian (Rescheduled for Tuesday, January 24)
Goochland at Amelia (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 12)
York at New Kent (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 12)


#9 Atlee at #2 Highland Springs (Rescheduled for Monday, February 6)
Huguenot at #8 L.C. Bird (Canceled)
Glen Allen at Henrico (Rescheduled for Wednesday, February 8)
Mills Godwin at Lee-Davis (Rescheduled for Thursday, February 9)
Amelia at Goochland (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 12)
New Kent at York (Rescheduled for Saturday, January 14)


Atlee vs. Lee-Davis, Randolph-Macon College (Canceled)
Douglas Freeman vs. Colonial Heights, Randolph-Macon College


Hermitage, John Marshall, Highland Springs at Deep Run (Canceled)
Atlee, Lee-Davis, Patrick Henry at Hanover (Canceled)
Cosby, Matoaca, Meadowbrook at Dinwiddie (Rescheduled for Friday, January 13)
J.R. Tucker, Maggie Walker GS at Douglas Freeman (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 12)
Clover Hill, Huguenot at Collegiate (Canceled)
Colonial Heights, Thomas Dale at Petersburg (Rescheduled for Wednesday, January 25)
Orange, Powhatan, Western Albemarle at Charlottesville (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 12)
Amelia, Bluestone, Nottoway at Randolph-Henry
Hopewell at Prince George
Louisa, Albemarle, Monticello at Fluvanna (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 12)
Goochland at Varina
Cumberland, Essex at King William


Douglas Freeman, Varina at Lee-Davis (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 12)

Monday, January 9, 2017


With another snow day in the Metro Richmond area, here's a look at games that were to be played Tuesday, and, as decisions are made on them, we will add the information here:


Woodberry Forest at #2 Trinity Episcopal (Canceled)
Douglas Freeman at #3 John Marshall
#5 Varina at Hanover (Rescheduled for Monday, January 30)
#7 Henrico at Lee-Davis (Rescheduled for Wednesday, February 1)
#8 St. Christopher's 48, Christchurch 37
#9 Highland Springs at Atlee (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 12)
Thomas Jefferson at #10 Hermitage
Deep Run at Louisa
J.R. Tucker at Glen Allen
Matoaca at Colonial Heights (Canceled)
Thomas Dale at Hopewell (Rescheduled for Wednesday, January 18)
Dinwiddie at Petersburg (Rescheduled for Saturday, January 21, 4pm; Petersburg game at Greensville County scheduled for 1/21 is now canceled)
Meadowbrook at Prince George
Collegiate at St. Anne's-Belfield (Rescheduled for Wednesday, January 11)
Charlottesville at Powhatan
Amelia at Bluestone
Caroline at King George (Rescheduled for Wednesday, February 1)


#9 Atlee at #2 Highland Springs (Rescheduled for Monday, February 6)
Collegiate at #3 St. Catherine's (Rescheduled for Wednesday, January 11)
#4 Trinity Episcopal at St. Anne's-Belfield (Canceled)
#5 J.R. Tucker at Glen Allen
#6 Hopewell at Thomas Dale (Rescheduled For Wednesday, January 18)
#7 Cosby at George Wythe
Huguenot at #9 L.C. Bird (Now Canceled)
Manchester at #10 James River (Rescheduled for Thursday, February 9)
Hanover at Varina (Rescheduled for Monday, January 30)
Patrick Henry at Armstrong
Lee-Davis at Henrico (Rescheduled for Wednesday, February 1)
Thomas Jefferson at Hermitage
Douglas Freeman at John Marshall
Midlothian at Clover Hill (Rescheduled for Thursday, February 9)
Petersburg at Dinwiddie (Rescheduled for Saturday, January 21, 4pm)
Prince George at Meadowbrook
Colonial Heights at Matoaca (Canceled)
Bluestone at Amelia
King George at Caroline (Rescheduled for Wednesday, February 1)
New Kent at York (Rescheduled for Saturday, January 14)


Maggie Walker GS vs. Hanover, Randolph-Macon College
All Chesterfield County Dual Meets at SwimRVA, (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 26)


Atlee, Glen Allen, J.R. Tucker at Deep Run (Rescheduled for Wednesday, January 18)


East Coast Invitational Meet at Arthur Ashe Center (Postponed; Reschedule Date Uncertain)
Polar Bear Meet at Clover Hill (Postponed to January 18/19)


Glen Allen, Henrico at Mills Godwin (Rescheduled for Thursday, January 19)
Dinwiddie,, Tabb, Warhill at New Kent (Rescheduled for Tuesday, January 31)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Top 10 Girls, Boys Basketball Polls Released

The top two teams stay put in the latest Top 10 Girls and Boys Basketball polls released Sunday evening by The RVA Sports Network, but both #3 teams from last week slip and two teams return to the Top 10, one in each poll. We are already have several postponements for Monday games and expect Tuesday games to be affected by the weather. We'll see how it affects regular season schedules down the stretch as schools decide on make-good dates, or, in some cases, whether they will play at all.


1) Monacan (was #1)
2) Highland Springs (was #2)
3) St. Catherine's (was #4)
4) Trinity Episcopal (was #3)
5) J.R. Tucker (was #5)
6) Hopewell (was #6)
7) Cosby (was #7)
8) L.C. Bird (was #9)
9) Atlee (returning)
10) James River (was #8)

Dropping Out: Varina

NOTES: St. Catherine's win over Trinity earns them a move to #3, while the Titans move down just one as #5 J.R. Tucker struggles with an improving Hermitage team. Atlee has won five in a row, including a 51-38 triumph at Varina back on Tuesday.


1) L.C. Bird (was #1)
2) Trinity Episcopal (was #2)
3) John Marshall (was #4)
4) Mills Godwin (was #5)
5) Varina (was #6)
6) Monacan (was #3)
7) Henrico (was #7)
8) St. Christopher's (was #8)
9) Highland Springs (was #9)
10) Hermitage (returning)

Dropping Out: Armstrong

NOTES: The Panthers are back in the Top 10 having won their last six games. #1 L.C. Bird never got to tip with now #6 Monacan Friday due to unexpected early evening snow. The Chiefs come off a tough loss by 22 to James River. Four of the top seven teams, and six teams overall in the poll, either come from Conference 11 or Conference 12, showing how competitive the 5A South Region will likely be come mid-February. We are a little less than two weeks away from a #1 vs. #2 showdown when the Titans go to the Skyhawks on Saturday January 21st.


With school divisions across The RVA Sports Network coverage area closed on Monday, January 9th due to the snowstorm, here is a look at the games that were on the schedule, with reschedule information if/when available.


Cosby at #1 L.C. Bird (rescheduled for Monday, February 6th)
#6 Monacan at George Wythe (rescheduled for Friday, January 27th)
#4 Mills Godwin at Atlee (rescheduled for Monday, February 6th)
Armstrong at Patrick Henry
Powhatan at Dinwiddie (rescheduled for Wednesday, February 1st)
Midlothian at Hermitage (rescheduled for Monday, February 6th)
Colonial Heights at Maggie Walker GS (Canceled)
Manchester at Clover Hill (rescheduled for Tuesday, January 24th)
Huguenot at James River


George Wythe at #1 Monacan (rescheduled for Friday, January 27th)
Matoaca at #5 J.R. Tucker
#9 L.C. Bird at #7 Cosby (rescheduled for Monday, February 6th)
#8 James River at Huguenot
#10 Varina at Prince George (rescheduled for Friday, January 13th)
Maggie Walker GS at Colonial Heights (Canceled)
Clover Hill at Manchester
Dinwiddie at Powhatan

Friday, January 6, 2017

Game Of The Week: Listen Live: Hanover at Atlee

It's a Friday night pre-snowstorm doubleheader as Hanover battles Atlee on "Silent Night" at Atlee High School! The RVA Sports Network will be live with the girls game at 6pm, followed by the boys game. Listen on the YouTube player below!

Thursday, January 5, 2017


The following are changes to game schedules based on impending winter storm conditions moving into the RVA Region on Friday night/Saturday:


New Kent


Hopewell at Matoaca, still Friday, start time moved up to 6pm
Thomas Dale at Meadowbrook, still Friday, start time moved up to 6:45pm
James River at Cosby, still Friday, start time moved up to 7pm
Armstrong at Varina, still Friday, start time moved up to 7pm
Midlothian at Manchester, still Friday, start time moved up to 7pm
Greenbriar Christian at Life Christian Academy on Friday, cancelled
John Marshall at Thomas Jefferson, scheduled for Friday postponed to Friday January 13th, 7:30pm
Greenbriar Christian at Steward on Saturday, postponed to Monday January 9th, 6:45pm
Petersburg at Brunswick on Saturday, postponed to Saturday January 28th
#1 L.C. Bird vs. Lake Taylor, Virginia Preps Classic Saturday, postponed
Cosby at Franklin County, postponed to Saturday January 21st at 2:30pm


John Marshall at Thomas Jefferson, scheduled for Friday postponed to Friday January 13th, 6pm
Blessed Sacrament Huguenot at Tidewater Academy scheduled for Friday, cancelled
Greenbriar Christian at Life Christian Academy on Friday, cancelled
Franklin County at Cosby, postponed to Saturday January 21st at 2:30pm
Saint Margaret's at St. Gertrude scheduled for Saturday, postponed.


Virginia State at Livingstone, postponed from Saturday to Sunday, 4pm


Virginia State at Livingstone, postponed from Saturday to Sunday, 2pm


Conference 3 Varsity Duals now at James River and moved up from Saturday to Friday, 4pm Weigh-In, 5pm Start

Atlee at First Flight HS Tournament in Kill Devil Hills, NC, cancelled


Suffolk Stars Invitational at Boo Williams in Hampton now a one-day event on Friday

Schedule is HERE.

Christopher Newport University Meet in Newport News now a one-day event on Friday, 2pm.

JV/Varsity track meet at St
 Christopher's scheduled for Saturday is postponed.

Monday, January 2, 2017

#RVAW: Spiders, Rams Earn A-10 Victories Ahead Of Showdown

After each winning Atlantic 10 conference games at home over the New Year's weekend, the Richmond Spiders and VCU Rams now turn their attention toward each other as a Thursday night showdown looms at the Siegel Center.

Read about their weekend victories and more by CLICKING HERE for our article at our Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball website. RVA Sports Network is your exclusive Richmond home for coverage of all fourteen Atlantic 10 Conference teams ahead of the 2017 Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Championship at the Richmond Coliseum March 4-6, and the home of the "Year Of Women's Sports" initiative for 2017, using the hashtag #RVAW.

(Below, Monacan grad Micaela Parson scored 17 points for Richmond Saturday, while VCU's Keira Robinson rose from fifth to third all-time in career assists for the Rams Sunday)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New RVA Sports Network Top 10 Girls/Boys Basketball Polls

Winter Break is complete, time for January basketball and a new set of Top 10 Polls, which see one poll stay exactly the same, while another sees some shifting near the bottom.....


1) Monacan (was #1)
2) Highland Springs (was #2)
3) Trinity Episcopal (was #3)
4) St. Catherine's (was #4)
5) J.R. Tucker (was #5)
6) Hopewell (was #6)
7) Cosby (was #7)
8) James River (was #8)
9) L.C. Bird (was #9)
10) Varina (was #10)


1) L.C. Bird (was #1)
2) Trinity Episcopal (was #2)
3) Monacan (was #3)
4) John Marshall (was #4)
5) Mills Godwin (was #5)
6) Varina (was #7)
7) Henrico (was #6)
8) St. Christopher's (was #9)
9) Highland Springs (was #8)
10) Armstrong (New)

Dropping Out: Hopewell

#RVAW : 2017: The Year Of Women's Sports!

June 23, 2017 will mark the 45th anniversary of the passage and implementation of "Title IX" legislation by Congress, signed by President Richard Nixon, which began a revolution of women's athletics at the collegiate level.

The revolution did not happen overnight, and still, 45 years later, has many obstacles to overcome in order to attain true equality with the male counterparts. For example, it would take another decade before the NCAA finally offered a women's basketball championship tournament to counter the men's tourney. Back in the powerhouse days of Nancy Lieberman and Anne Donovan at Old Dominion, playing for a national championship meant playing in the "AIAW Tournament", sponsored by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women", a governing body formed in 1971.

Today, in Richmond, arguably the best high school basketball team is the Monacan Girls Basketball team, nationally ranked, with the number one recruited player in this year's graduating class and much, much more. A generation ago, girls basketball in high schools around Richmond, and in most parts of America, were an afterthought. They were not promoted by administration and presented in some cases because schools had to rather than wanted to.

Thankfully, that thinking doesn't exist any longer. Still, girls basketball at the high school level is either played as the first game of a varsity doubleheader or is played at one school simultaneously as when the boys play at the other school. While totally understandable from a scheduling and fiscal standpoint, the drawback is it hinders the growth on the girls side.

At the collegiate level in basketball for example, VCU men's basketball has sold out the Siegel Center 89 consecutive times, certainly a tribute, in part, to the program's success this decade fueled by their run to the 2011 NCAA Final Four in Houston. Today, we sit in the Siegel Center typing this just before the VCU women's basketball team takes the floor for their Atlantic 10 home opener, and, 30 minutes before tip, there are maybe 100 fans in a 7,500 seat arena.

Did you know we have a nationally ranked women's college basketball team right now in Richmond? The Virginia Union Panthers, even after losing their leading scorer from last year's NCAA Tournament team to graduation, are unbeaten and ranked sixth in the county in Division II.

It's not just basketball. In the spring, there is softball, lacrosse, soccer and track. In the fall, there is volleyball, field hockey and cross country. Women's college sports play from August to June.

RVA Sports Network has long been a supporter of women's athletics and we strive to provide as much coverage of women's sports, especially at the high school level, as we do men's. So, in 2017, RVA Sports Network will sponsor a year-long initiative to salute, spotlight, and promote women's sports in the Metro Richmond area.

This will include:

--more coverage of high school girls' sports
--new coverage of an expanded array of women's college sports
--spotlight articles on women's players, coaches, and figures who have contributed to women's sports, past, present, and future

We will be using the special hashtag "#RVAW" at every live women's event we cover on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We invite other media organizations to partner with us in using this hashtag when they cover women's sports, at any level, to provide synergy and well-deserved publicity to half of the student-athletic population of not just our area, but our nation.

We are very excited about doing our part to help come closer to bringing true equality to women's sports. One reason it has not existed to this point is false assumptions from the public.

"Oh, it's a women's game."

That thinking is way outdated and needs to finally be placed in the past. With positive, realistic coverage of women's sports by The RVA Sports Network and others, we hope to dispel that false assumption, one mind at a time, once and for all.

Happy New Year, and welcome to The Year Of Women's Sports on The RVA Sports Network!